Makar Maju, an Indonesian village famous for making machetes and knives
Bandung- About 40 kilometers south of Bandung, the capital of West Java Province in Indonesia and the fourth most important city in Indonesia, is the village of Makar Maju.
For decades, the Sukamahi neighborhood has been known as the decorated and ornate “blacksmithing machete”, which is the source of livelihood for the majority of the residents of this village, which consists of 230 houses, in each of which there is a special room for the iron workshop for the manufacture of weapons.
At first sight when visiting the Sukamahi district, you see on its main street several shops and rooms for the manufacture of white weapons from machetes and traditional knives, and when entering between the alleys of the neighborhood houses, the ear enjoys the ringing melodies that result from the strikes of blacksmith hammers, while in other houses you find men or women busy chopping wood And engraved or carved, in the process of making handles and sheaths for weapons.
Usually men work as blacksmiths or craftsmen in engraving and iron formation, while women handle the carving, sanding, painting and final operations of the product.
Various types of white weapons are also manufactured in this village, including machetes, knives and machetes, such as the butcher’s machete, which is used to cut meat, while the village is distinguished by decorated machetes or cleavers with handles, and the prices of the sheath vary between tens and hundreds of dollars, in response to local or foreign requests from Malaysia, Holland, Germany and even China .
Fame facing extinction
Salehin bin Abdullah (55 years old) confirms in his talk to Al Jazeera Net – he is of the sixth generation in the art of carving the scabbard sheath, which he inherited from her ancestors – that the village has been known for producing hand weapons in a traditional way for decades, specifically since 1933, despite modern industrial touches. In some of its production processes, such as the “grinding” machine and others in recent decades, its value and the advantage that takes its fame from it is the art of carving the sheath of these weapons.
Saleheen said, “We inherit this craft from generation to generation, and we have now reached the seventh generation, where we are now teaching the seventh generation.” Art material.
Salehin, who hosted Al Jazeera Net in his workshop next to his house, added that he taught his sons and nephews to make weapons, handles and engraving since childhood, acknowledging that he is currently facing the challenges of the age, including that the number of practitioners of industrial arts has begun to decrease.
Saleheen seeks to bequeath the art of making weapons to his nephew, who employed him in the distribution and marketing department, where he brings machetes and weapons from the people of the village and sells them to agents or buyers.
Didi Muliana bin Hafezin, who is the nephew of Salehin – told Al Jazeera Net – “Since 2008 we have sent orders for machetes from Malaysia and Singapore, and there are productions for special requests reserved by some groups, from a samurai sword and a traditional weapon such as kris, whose price reaches 110 dollars, which are local requests The price depends on the quality of the iron and the wood of the sheath.
Didi stressed that the Corona pandemic caused a decrease in production and requests in the country, despite the improvement currently, as requests began to rise again with the return of the situation, wishing that the pandemic would end completely.
Didi pointed out that what distinguishes his productions is the quality and art of decorating the sheath of weapons, as many people want to keep them for a period of time, according to safety conditions, so that they do not harm anyone in the house after using them, while there are those who buy weapons with special shapes for their decorative distinction. For gifts or for purchase.
Regarding production raw materials, Saleheen bin Abdullah said, “In our industry, we often rely on iron used in auto spare parts and others, not new iron, as it is cheap and strong. He indicated that he was able to produce about a thousand pieces per month.
He added that the fame of Sukamahi district attracts the interest of some university students in Bandung to do research and study from historical, artistic and economic aspects, which helps in raising the morale of the people of the neighborhood and marketing their products.
Salehin stressed that the machete makers in the neighborhood hope for support from all parties involved in development, development and marketing, such as purchasing some modern industrial machines to speed up the industrial process, pointing out that there is only one machine in this village that is rented by arms makers.